Top kitchen gear for the bride and groom
Bridal registries have gotten a lot more creative these days, with couples asking for contributions to honeymoons, home renovations, and even gifts to charity. But the most popular registry items continue to be such practical items as cookware, small appliances, and other kitchen gear, says Anja Winikka, site director for TheKnot.com. She reports that friends typically spend about $80 on a wedding gift while relatives spend about $150. Fortunately, Consumer Reports has tested many outstanding products with prices in that sweet spot—and lower. Here are some to consider whether you’re giving the gift or getting it.
The KitchenAid Classic K45SS[WH] stand mixer is a perennial item on wedding registries but it costs $200. For half that, you can get our top-rated hand mixer, the KitchenAid KHM926, which comes in bright red among other colors. It was a whiz at whipping and mixing and scored points for versatility, thanks to its dough hooks, whisk attachment, and liquid blending rod, which is designed to blend soups, smoothies, and more.
If there’s one pan to have, it’s the Calphalon Simply Nonstick 10-inch Omelette Pan, a CR Best Buy at $40. Eggs slid out of the pan with ease and it was superb at evenly heating food. It’s simple to clean and stood up to our tough durability test. The frying pan can be bought separately or as part of the 10-piece Calphalon Simply Nonstick set, which costs $200 and is a CR Best Buy.
Pod coffeemakers are selling like hot cakes and offer the advantage of letting everyone make their favorite brew. Our top-rated pod machine is the DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio EDG455T, $130, which earned excellent scores for brewing speed of the first and subsequent cups—meaning no wait for the water to heat. It was also consistent at filling the cups to the same level and keeping a steady temperature.
Combination blender/food chopper
At $60, the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 can satisfy all your blending and chopping needs. As a blender, it aced our icy drink, smoothie, and puréeing tests. And as a food chopper, it topped our cheese grating test and was very good at chopping nuts and vegetables. The Ninja features a top-mounted motor and comes with containers in different sizes.
The Panasonic FlashXpress NB-G110P, $150, is a good choice for smaller meals. It looks fairly basic from the outside, but its quartz and ceramic heating elements are claimed to cook more efficiently than conventional coil-heated ovens and don’t require any time for preheating. Corn muffins and frozen pizza came out nicely in our tests, and it’s a capable toaster as well.
The Calphalon Stainless Steel 2-Slot HE200ST, $60, popped to the top of our toaster tests. Its ability to turn out evenly browned toast, batch after batch, was unsurpassed by the competition. It was particularly good at toasting at a range of intensities—ideal for folks with different preferences—and did a good job on a single slice too. Special features include settings for bagels, warming and reheating, and defrosting.
The Sharp R-323TKC, $140, is another cooking convenience. Easy to use, the Sharp was among the fastest to heat water, and is relatively quiet when on high. A very good performer overall, it offers superb defrosting and very good heating evenness.
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